I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago something about homeschooling on the Time 2 $ave Facebook page and was blown away by your response. First, I want you to know that I do not have it all together. If you’ve been hanging out with us for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me say that I’m unorganized and I’ve got ADHD. Although this is my fourth year, I am still figuring things out. I feel closer this year and feel like I have a better understanding of what our day should look like, however, in saying that we are still a work in process for sure. To answer as many of your questions as possible, I thought I would do a Q & A for this post as an introduction into our homeschool world.
Why did you decide to homeschool?
For several reasons, the biggest being my daughter’s diabetes. She was diagnosed right after she turned three years old. With all the finger pricking, insulin dosing and carb counting that goes along with diabetes I couldn’t imagine sending her to school (You can read our story here). Of course, there were other factors that influenced our decision including our faith, educational preferences, and my crazy work schedule.
What grade are your kids in?
My daughter is in 3rd grade (she’s 9), and my son is in Kindergarten (he’s 6).
What kind of curriculum do you use?
Our main curriculum is called Classical Conversations. It’s a classical approach to education, much different than what you would find in the public school system. We met with our Classical Conversations group every Tuesday from 9:00 to 12:00. Each of my children is in a classroom of 7 other children with a “tutor” who introduces the next week’s memory work and facilitates science experiments/projects as well as fine art. I go back and forth between the kid’s classes helping out where I can.
Classical Conversations includes:
- Fine Arts
Classical Conversations is divided into three cycles – every year we focus on a different cycle. By the end of this year, the cycle one curriculum exposes my kids to over 400 pieces of information that they work on memorizing. It sounds daunting. However, this is our fourth year, and I am amazed at what my kids are capable of memorizing. Most all of the memory work has songs and motions that are super catchy. I find myself singing memory work all the time!
Cycle 1 Memory Work Covers
- 161 events and people in a chronological timeline
- 44 Presidents
- 24 History Sentences to add depth to the chronological timeline
- 120 locations and geographic features in Africa, Europe, and the Old World
- 24 Science facts (including the classifications of living things and each continent’s highest mountain)
- 5 Latin noun endings and their singular and plural declensions
- English grammar facts (including 53 prepositions, 23 helping verbs, and 12 linking verbs)
- Multiplication tables up to 15X15, common squares and cubes, as well as basic geometry formulas and unit conversations
- Exposure to drawing techniques
- Music theory and tin whistle
- Six great artists and related projects
- Introduction to the orchestra and three classical composures
- 12 science experiments and 12 science projects
- 23 oral presentations
I supplement our CC (CC is an abbreviation for Classical Conversations) with a separate Math, Reading, Spelling, Grammar and Social Studies Curriculum. Below I have listed what I am using this year. I especially love our reading and spelling curriculum. I’m a terrible speller, so it’s giving me a chance to relearn all those “spelling rules” I had long forgotten!
What does our day look like?
My goal is to start each day by 9 and end by 2:30 or 3:00. With the exception of Tuesdays (we attend CC group) and Friday’s (we attend a Spanish Class from 12:30 – 1:30) we pretty much keep to our schedule. If I have to go out of town for work, I will try to have school work ready for their sitter, but it’s usually less work than we do when I am home. I don’t travel very often, so it works for us. We start each day off with a praise and workshop song, and a devotion. Even if we are running late getting started, I have found that it sets the tone for our entire day. We break for about 30 minutes for lunch and jump right back into school work. We usually go longer in the summer than the local school system just to make sure I’ve covered everything.
Where do you homeschool in your house?
We have a homeschool room, that we do most all of our school work in. Otherwise, I’d have books all over the house. We have found that a kitchen table in the middle of the room works best for us after trying desks for a while. That way I can sit between them, to help with their school work. In one of the corners of the room, we sit on the floor for our reading and spelling lessons. I’d like to set up a couple different “learning stations” in our room but just haven’t had time.
Are there days you want to give up?
Of course!!! However, at the end of the day, I truly treasure this time with my kids. I know that homeschooling isn’t for everyone. I’m not against public or private schools; homeschooling was just the right choice for my family.
I hope this helped to answer some of your questions. Make sure to click the links I’ve included if you’d like to find out more information about Classical Conversations. Depending on interest, I am thinking about starting a new homeschooling series. I’d love it if you’d leave a comment if you’d be interested or leave a comment sharing your experience.